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Publication Date

Fall 2010

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Priya Raman


Adaptation, Cultural Identity, Culture, Prejudice, Race, Racism

Subject Areas



The purpose of this thesis was to understand the adaptation experiences of Brazilians in the U.S. I sought to find out what roles the Brazilian cultural identity performs in the adaptation of Brazilians, and I sought to understand how Brazilians (re)construct dimensions of racial identity through adaptation. Social construction theory was the main theoretical framework in this thesis. Overall, in this qualitative in-depth individual interview study, I examined concepts such as adaptation, culture, cultural identity, race, racism, prejudice, and discrimination. The interview questionnaire incorporated 39 open-ended questions and 6 demographic questions.

The results from the interviews indicated that the majority of the participants believe that their cultural identities have influenced their adaptation in the U.S. The typical Brazilian informality and spontaneity have helped them to communicate easily and to make friends in the U.S. Although some participants did not agree that the Brazilian cultural identity has influenced their adaptation, they acknowledged that their Brazilian communication style differentiates them from other immigrants in the U.S. For these Brazilians, their races/ethnicities have remained the same as in Brazil, although some of them acknowledged that they have reinforced their European background in the U.S.